The bipartisan leadership of the Senate Commerce Committee has introduced a bill to update the government's tech ed program.
The bill, the Advanced Technological Manufacturing Act, would reauthorize the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program but also retool it given that COVID-19 has put an exclamation point on the need for more high tech workers in a world having to connect remotely.
"This legislation would spur economic recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic by developing a workforce prepared to fill roles in advanced technological sectors," said Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), chairman of the Committee, who joined with ranking member Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) to introduce the bill.
Cantwell said the idea is to spur STEM education, particularly with the community colleges and technical colleges that have "led the way," in STEM.
The bill would direct the National Science Foundation to reestablish pilot programs expanding the number of colleges and universities that can compete for NSF grants.
The bill also does some linguistic housekeeping, changing the language in the program from "scientific and educational content" to STEM.